Stop and say hello to new furry friends in the west of Ireland.iStock

Everyone knows how welcoming the Irish can be – and that point holds up across the board! Between music, genuine interest in travelers and their stories, hospitality, and storytelling, the Irish overall have been remarkably open.

It isn’t just the two-legged who tend to be curious about visitors; however – the residents of Ireland who walk on four legs instead of two are also known for their inquisitive and outgoing nature.

Here is a handful of the furry friends you might encounter.

  1. Herding our hearts

Does it get cuter than a border collie.

Does it get cuter than a border collie.

The use of the Border Collie in Ireland for livestock herding is famous – their showmanship, cunning faces, knowing personalities and beautiful bold coloring make them a true icon in the Irish countryside!

We might even know where you can meet a few – and where you can watch them work their magic.

  1. A woolly rainbow

Herds of lovely wooly sheep.

Herds of lovely wooly sheep.

Want to get up close and personal with the creators of some of the world’s finest sweaters? These tight-knit (get it?) herds of sheep are content to roam the areas of rural Western Ireland, carrying the colors of their farmers with them – as local farmers have begun to color-code their flocks to tell them apart,

As a result, all those hills of green are filled with cloudy rainbows pretty much year-round.

  1. Kick up your heels!

Lovely funny donkeys.

Lovely funny donkeys.

This might surprise you; but donkeys are a delightfully common part of Irish culture. Useful for plowing and farming; they’re full of sass and pep – and are incredibly capable, as they are one of the few animals able to cross bog territory without a problem. There’s so much more to them than their so-called stubbornness – mostly because, in part, they’re almost as smart as we are!

  1. Cow do you do?

What you looking at?! Cows!

What you looking at?! Cows!

Another friend you’ll likely find in places we venture out to is the cow!

This might seem anticlimactic but cows are actually a vital part of Irish culture and legend: between dairy and beef, Ireland produces some of the best in the world.

Legendarily speaking, you might know the tale of Saint Brigid and her cows: how she was told by her father to go and milk the cows and ended up giving all she milked away to the poor. What happens next will shock you – but you’ll have to follow us to pastures unknown to hear the rest of the tale.

Read more: Ten unique animals of Ireland

  1. Come horse around!

Horses along a country road.

Horses along a country road.

And finally, no trip to Ireland would be complete without glimpsing an equine friend of another variety: horses have been a part of Irish history for quite a while.

Several breeds originate in Ireland – the Irish Cob; for hard work as carthorses, the Irish Draught, a versatile breed for farm work, hunting, and more, the Irish Sport Horse for athleticism and showmanship, the newest Irish Warmblood (also used for equestrian ventures), and the endearing/enduring Kerry Bog Pony (a splendid family horse).

But we cannot dismiss perhaps the most famous Irish equine of all: The Connemara Pony! Known for its calm and versatility; this horse can be ridden by just about anyone.

Connemara Pony

Connemara Pony

Of course, these aren’t ALL the animals you’ll see in Ireland – honorable mentions go to creatures such as:

- The cheeky magpie

Magpies.

Magpies.

- The graceful swan (heavily featured in the Land of Heart’s Desire!)

Majestic swans.

Majestic swans.

- The wandering cats

Beautiful wild cats.

Beautiful wild cats.

- Coneys (do you know that word?)

Coneys... aka rabbits!

Coneys... aka rabbits!

… and all creatures great and small.

The only way to discover them fully, of course, is to come with us: we’d be happy to make introductions with just about anyone (and indeed; anything).

Read more: Celtic Canines - top Irish dog breeds

For more visit Wild West Irish Tours site, www.wildwestirishtours.com, follow them on Facebook or read more at their blog, www.daretobewildblog.wordpress.com.